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Don't fall behind: Stay updated on surgery trends
By Stephen W. Earnhart, MS, CEO
Earnhart & Associates
Being a person of a self-assessed "up" mentality, I notice trends that give me pause. Consider the following:
It has hit healthcare full on. My web site is loaded with Twitter, Facebook, and blog. I am forced to "tweet" things because it is where our industry is headed. (If you want a laugh during the day, check out our tweeter page, "SurgeryInc,").
It took me a while to figure out the underlying importance of it. It is beyond networking. It gives those of us in business the opportunity to reach peers that before could be reached only through costly media sources. That is a distinct advantage. As a cautionary note though, it can bite you with a disgruntled employee!
Find a way to use it to meet your needs. It is out there and inexpensive. Use the technology that is rapidly absorbing us.
Electronic medical records (EMRs).
I cannot find enough ways to fit EMR into conversations in the lounge. It is staying, and you need to find the money and time (oh the time!) to implement it. The field of vendors is shrinking.
More surgeon's offices are using it, and if you don't have it yet, you will. You should start planning for it. Medicare is going to require it shortly.
Smartphones with cameras and camcorders.
These smartphones are scary in the surgical department. The potential for abuse is high, but I don't know a realistic way to remove it. We are becoming a distracted nation. I am sure someone can Tweet or blog a solution.
Once the savior for many surgical programs, I am nervous about the introduction of this service into new locations. I am not saying the bubble has burst, but pharmaceutical treatments are becoming a real competitor to surgery. Do your homework on this one.
Bariatric furniture in your waiting rooms.
A must for 40% of your waiting room.
Surgeons with attitudes.
I have noticed a real change in staff treatment toward difficult surgeons. They are not tolerating them like in the past. Finally they are being told to leave their bad moods at the door and get past it while they are in the operating room. Being respectful, but firm with this type of surgeon is long overdue!
Anesthesia cooperation with your surgical program has turned the corner. I have observed a serious change of attitude with anesthesia becoming more responsive to the challenges we are all facing. If you have noticed it, let them know.
Personal recognition is so critical to all of our sense of self-worth. Going out of our way to recognize and tell staff members you appreciate the job they are doing should become muscle memory to us all.
Now get out there and "poke" someone. [Earnhart & Associates is a consulting firm specializing in all aspects of outpatient surgery development and management.]